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The Resistible Rise of Arturo Ui (Classic Stage Company)

From 121 member  reviews
Members say: Great acting, Relevant, Intense, Thought-provoking, Absorbing

About the show

Bertolt Brecht’s skewering of Adolf Hitler and totalitarianism is given a new production directed by John Doyle ("The Color Purple") for Classic Stage Company. More…

In 1930s Chicago, mobster Arturo Ui will stop at nothing to control the cauliflower trade. Terror and bloodshed follow. Can anyone stop him?  Written in 1941, the play was one of the Berliner Ensemble’s greatest box office successes.


Member Reviews (121)

MEMBERS SAY:

Great acting, Relevant, Intense, Thought-provoking, Absorbing
78
Avg Score

During previews
69
Dated style, Great acting, Slow, Relevant, Confusing

See it if Important, thought-provoking themes. Great acting. Interesting and relevant. The announcers' notes on the actual facts throughout helped

Don't see it if Confusing. Actors playing too many parts without a costume change to denote it. Could be condensed and some parts cut.

Also The storytelling style felt a bit dated. ... Read more Read less

During previews
69
Great acting, Relevant, Resonant, Slow, Overly long

See it if Great acting from Esparza & cast. Important show that is still very relevant today.

Don't see it if Would have been better as 90min. By the time the story picks up in act2 I began to lose interest. A shame b/c there is some great material.

Also If you aren't familiar with the play I would recommend reading the syn... Read more Read less

During previews
87
Great acting, Bone chillingly relevant, Great writing, Intelligent, Profound

See it if You have any doubt that we are living through another very dark time in history. Magnificent acting. Raul is exceptional. Terrific writing.

Don't see it if You don’t like Shakespeare there’s a good chance you won’t like this. Style and even just many parts of his plays are “borrowed” here.

Also I personally am over John Doyle’s style of “less is more” directing bu... Read more Read less

During previews
83
Absorbing, Thought-provoking, Relevant (sadly), Ambitious

See it if you want to see Brecht's 1941 allegory of Hitler's rise to power (via a fictional Chicago mobster) through the lens of today's political eye

Don't see it if you are in need of escapist entertainment; you have no interest in political or epic theater.

Also John Doyle's sparse setting (in a prison yard), George Tabori's excell... Read more Read less

During previews
76
Confusing, Edgy, Thought-provoking, Resonant, Great star turn

See it if Raul Esparza's incandescent, commanding turn as Arturo (aka Hitler) is worth the evening Solid ensemble tries hard to capture his luster

Don't see it if Doyle's minimalism ill-suited to Brecht's style or Tabori's translation Lacks necessary scope & magnitude; multiple casting is confusing

During previews
84
Thoughtful, Lean staging, Well performed, Uneven writing, Important

See it if you are a Brechtian: very rarely does this play receive a top-drawer production like this one.

Don't see it if you do not want to spend your brain cells trying to follow a needlessly complicated plot.

Also Brecht was a big part of my awakening to the theater. In the late 1960... Read more Read less

During previews
80
Ambitious, Great acting, Great staging, Great writing, Relevant

See it if Brechtian allegory of the simple gangster Ui vying to rule vegetable trade. Spare Doyle treatment of rise of fascism. Esparza is terrific.

Don't see it if Cast takes on multiple roles and without a programme, identies are lost.Nonsdescript contemp wardrobe. Odd lighting cues.John Doyle factory.

During previews
87
Absorbing, Confusing, Intense, Entertaining

See it if Seeing the rise of Hilter in a different way.

Don't see it if You want musical or happy story.

Also It took me sometime to put two and two together about the show. Strong... Read more Read less

During previews
86
Great acting, Thought-provoking, Relevant, Intense, Great writing

See it if Great acting, excellent ensemble work. Raúl Esparza was great. Sadly v. relevant.

Don't see it if you want something light. This is dark and serious and takes focus to listen carefully to what is being said. However also is entertaining.

Also The lighting was either too bright or too dark for about half the show... Read more Read less

During previews
77
Absorbing, Clever, Great acting, Edgy, Great writing

See it if you enjoy a very intelligent political drama in true Brecht style. Interesting staging and very biting dialogue.

Don't see it if you do not like Bertolt Brecht or political drama. The dialogue is almost Shakespearean at times which I enjoyed.

During previews
81
Minimalist production, Edgy/intense, Powerful, Requires concentration, Chilling

See it if Want to see a strong cast deliver a focused performance of a lesser-Brecht work. It would help 2 know story beforehand, but it's riveting.

Don't see it if Don't want to follow difficult script w references to ancient Greece, Skspeare, '40's gangsters, & most important, the rise of nazism. Wordy

Also It's an absorbing theatre experience with completely stripped down sta... Read more Read less

During previews
73
Good production. good acting. very stylized.

See it if You are a Brecht fan. Very timely and political.

Don't see it if You are not a Brecht fan.

During previews
65
Resonant, Thought-provoking, Overrated, Heavy-handed, Ugly

See it if you are an avid Brechtian or are curious to see Esparza in the title role

Don't see it if you don't like Brecht or plays that make lazy connections to current events.

During previews
83
Brecht's political parody gains new relevance with skillful cast

See it if Esparza as Chicago gangster (Hitler) takes over cauliflower market (Germany). Doyle guides great cast in vaudeville-style political romp.

Don't see it if political satire is not for you. Read the play's Wikipedia entry first. All the characters represent historical figures in 1930s Germany.

During previews
76
Great acting, Relevant, Slow, Clever

See it if you enjoy older plays that assume new meaning in context of today's political climate. Great performances especially Raul Esparza.

Don't see it if you don't like minimalist staging. Started slow with humor not really landing, but the cast won the audience over as the show progressed.

During previews
84
Ambitious, Relevant, Resonant, Slow start, Great acting

See it if you’d enjoy a compelling drama about the ways a group of people can be coerced into going along with immorality. This is a timely piece.

Don't see it if You want a light-hearted theater experience, and you don’t want to feel unsettled by the parallels between what unfolds in this play & RL.

Also Strong performances all around - one of the best casts I’ve seen onsta... Read more Read less

During previews
68
Disappointing, Slow, Intense

See it if See it if You like Raul Esparza who gives a powerful performance. Good to see if you want to see a Brecht play.

Don't see it if Don't see it if You want scenery (John Doyle’s typical sparse set). Uneven acting. Feels amateurish. Strange staging, very harsh lighting.

Also Also Characters seem dressed in their own old clothes. An historically... Read more Read less

During previews
81
Absorbing, Great acting, Great writing, Masterful, Riveting

See it if If you are a Brecht fan see this lesser known work with spot on relevance for today.Raul masterly leads an excellent cast.

Don't see it if Do not see if you perfer light dramas, easy linear storylines or musicals.

During previews
85
Great acting, Profound, Unsettling, Intense, Intelligent

See it if you are interested in a parable about the greatest monster in recent history & how Hitler came to power. A frightening view of human nature.

Don't see it if you prefer fluffy plays without social commentary.

Also No other creature was as evil and devious in his rise to power. Brecht... Read more Read less

During previews
73
Confusing, Political satire, Jumble of genres, Dated

See it if You like political satire spoken in Shakespearean style. You like Brecht’s work. Raul was outstanding!

Don't see it if You don’t want a mish-mash of styles with somewhat confusing beginning to each scene. You don’t want Hitler mentioned in a show.

Also Familiarity with the Brecht’s works is required to even appreciate the... Read more Read less

During previews
83
Absorbing, Great acting, Great staging, Riveting, Relevant

See it if you're interested in seeing a Brecht play brought to life with innovative staging and an astonishing tour de force performance by Esparza.

Don't see it if you're looking for something light and frivolous. This requires concentration and focus, but well worth it.

Also I'm glad I read the Wikipedia article beforehand. It helped me connect... Read more Read less

During previews
85
Entertaining thought-provoker & discussion-starter, Great venue / minimalist set / good lighting design, Captivating / resonant / very relevant / intense, Amazing passionate committed ensemble, Challenging satire / interesting (confusing) adaptation

See it if you do your homework & are able to stay focused for the duration. You WILL be challenged by the confusing book but the acting's SO worth it.

Don't see it if you don't like political satire. This one will make you question a ton during intermission & force open-dialogue afterwards. Don't go alone.

Also No freaking playbill. NOT COOL.... Read more Read less

During previews
81
Great acting, Confusing, Edgy, Intense, Relevant

See it if You enjoy political farce and are willing to put in the work needed to follow this complex play.

Don't see it if You are looking for escapist fare. This play is, sadly, highly relevant today, given the political situation in the U.S.

Also The performances were wonderful. Esparza is intense, menacing and scar... Read more Read less

During previews
85
Intense, Relevant, Confusing, Great acting, Thought-provoking

See it if You're interested in the political history of the Third Reich. You're patient and maybe willing to read a synopsis first.

Don't see it if You lose track of the plot when things get confusing.

During previews
71
Funny, Great acting, Relevant, Thought-provoking

See it if you like beat-for-beat stories explaining how Hitler rose to power and mirroring how it's currently happening again.

Don't see it if you're not a fan of Brecht or John Doyle's minimalist direction.


November 14th, 2018
“Doyle’s production...is full of enlivening moments of actorly glee. The eight ensemble members here are delightfully resourceful as they become an entire population of corrupt thugs and government officials...Yet all the cast’s resourcefulness isn’t enough to keep confusion and tedium at bay...E...
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November 14th, 2018
“Doyle’s production is certainly streamlined, and it boasts a wonderful Ui—Esparza plays the part just at the edge of clowning—but his directorial choices also make this character-crammed epic harder to understand...This is the kind of ride that’s hard to get back on once you’ve fallen off...Happ...
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November 14th, 2018
"A sly, fearsome sideshow, a deceptively humble, hugely exciting piece of work...It’s ‘Richard III’ meets Jimmy Cagney by way of the vaudeville circuit, and in the hands of Doyle and his actors, it’s both rollicking and frightening...Esparza is on fire from word one...And he never skips a beat. D...
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November 19th, 2018
"John Doyle’s sober revival of Bertolt Brecht’s 'The Resistible Rise of Arturo Ui' couldn’t be more timely, though whether that timeliness enhances or diminishes its message I can’t quite decide...The production’s stripped-down realism has mixed results. It can pay to highlight Brecht’s stylish e...
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